Thursday, September 4, 2008

Less is More or Just Say No!

Sometimes the view is more realistic when you look from far away.

By following the links at PrintCeoBlog, I got to Beyond Print. Based on the url it is based in Germany. The good news for me is that they have at least some of the site in English. George Alexander shares a really interesting take on the list of 36 printing companies that got on to Inc's list of 5000 fastest growing companies. The full article is worth the click here.

Meanwhile, here's some of what caught my eye.
One striking feature of the companies on the list is that they are specialized. Some are extremely specialized. For example, one specializes in printing on apparel (Underground Printing). Another prints primarily wedding items—invitations, placecards, napkins, even books of matches (The Artcraft Company). A third prints only labels, and only for six specific types of customers—those in the industrial, electronics, auto, outdoor power, medical and biomedical industries (Tailored Label Products).
. . .
What can printers learn from this? It is simple, really: if you want to grow in today’s shrinking market, you need to focus on a very specific customer group or set of value-added services, and you need to become outstanding at your chosen specialty. Although this concept is simple to state, it requires discipline, because you will have to say “no” to work that takes you in other directions.
So what does this mean for all the blah. blah about becoming a "solution provider" or a "communication partner" or "full service one stop shop?" It makes a salesperson question whether the best way to spend their time is to "learn new stuff" or "educate yourself" or whether it makes more sense to relearn what your outfit is already good at.

Maybe the best approach is to "provide the solution" of being better, faster and cheaper at whatever your firm is already doing best.

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